Guts nurse - Veronica Rodriguez_edited
Being born and raised in Puerto Rico, the amazing landscape around me was magical. This provided me with sensory experiences that are woven into who I am. Our cultural traditions are full of artistic manifestations, myths, family gatherings, magical realism, and mystic religious events. Our political history, social differences, and gender-related issues have also provided a lot of contrast. All of these elements show up in my work.
I graduated in 2005 from the University of Puerto Rico within the drama department. During my studies in 2002, I studied a year abroad at the University of Warwick in England. In 2003, I won a scholarship to study physical theater from Accademia D'Arte Silvio D'Amico to do a summer in Italy. This motivated my journey of living abroad and traveling, helping me gather different artistic elements and skills from different cultures. I like to work with original pieces, and I usually write my own theater shows. My love for originality and spontaneity guided me towards improv theater for over 12 years. In Madrid, I founded alongside six other actors the improv theater company Quilosa. It performed in local Madrid theater venues and La Mancha from 2007 – 2011. I started doing improv. in 2000 with the National Improvisation League of Puerto Rico. We toured around Madrid and eight other cities in Italy in 2006. During the trip, I had a supporting role in the independent movie called Il Viaggio, which won an award for Best Experimental Film at the XV Festival Icaro/Guatemala 2012.
Training with the company Teatro de los Sentidos in their workshop “Poetry of the Space” was the missing link that helped me write, direct, and produce my first immersive play “Desde mis Entrañas” (“Guts”). It was there where I started collaborating with Italian director Karim Galici in April 2013. After living in Europe for over 10 years, I moved to Chicago in July 2013.
Because of my passion for Children’s theater and education, I worked as a Theater and Spanish teacher at Gems World Academy, creating at least two shows a year with the students, family events like Boo Fest, Passport through the Holidays, and the end of the year picnic from 2013 to 2018. Throughout the years, I have presented independent productions of children’s shows, especially my original bilingual play for children ages 3-10, Skeleton’s Wacky Adventure with a Wacky Witchy Bruja produced in 2014/2015/2016. In 2018, North Park University in Chicago invited us to create a workshop on immersive theater as a tool for storytelling. Karim Galici and I adapted the book the Little Prince as a puppet immersive theater show. About 100 people came through the intimate experience for five audience members at a time.
In June 2015, Karim Galici asked me to join him as resident artistic director at the In/Visible Cities Urban Multimedia Festival in Gorizia, Italy. As a director, I provided an immersive theater workshop as well as co-directing the play “Viaggio nella Citta Invisibile,” Galici's free adaptation of the book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. In August 2016, we were asked to present their project as the opening for the Find Festival in Calgary/Italy. The show was adapted and renamed “Invisible Space”. This project led us to direct and train twenty-five professional and amateur actors, in a beautiful setting the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Cagliari. In 2017, A collaboration with Swiss artist duo Stofer&Stofer inspired a remake of the opening piece of my first show Guts; we renamed the piece “Guts Reloaded”. The performance was presented as part of ITINERANT 2017 Performance Art Festival in New York, later independently presented at Light Box Theater/Detroit, and Hairpin Art Center/Chicago.
In December 2019, I finished my MFA in Experience Design from CU Boulder. During my time in the program, I art directed and wrote the script of our cohort's thesis project, Virtue of Reality, which more than 500 people came to see. I also trained 17 actors in immersive theater for the experience. As part of Denver Museum of Art & Science community outreach program, we were invited as a cohort to participate in Night at the Museum where thousands of people saw our installation Iceberg vs Trashbergs. I also received three scholarships for HERE Summit 2020, TEASeattle Convention, and the Immersive Design Summit 2019.